See BTB's Thoughts on Mountain Biking in Salida and Winter Park/Fraser in the Colorado Rockies.
Bike Tours by Region: Denver and the Rockies
Denver and the surrounding Rocky Mountains scream for cyclists to test their limits on the mountainous terrain. Bikers will face steep hills and a change in altitude of more than 4,000 feet. Unless you are on paved roads, the terrain is remarkably similar throughout the region. It’s called the Rocky Mountains for a reason. The region contains some of the rockiest, driest ground. Don’t go biking without being prepared for the worst case scenario, particularly if exploring by yourself. Getting lost, being caught in a snowstorm or injuring yourself can always happen. The reward for exertion is breathtaking views of the mountain range and the neatest geological features, like Old Faithful, in the United States. Riding a bicycle is the ultimate way to experience Denver and the Rockies.
Where To Bike
Thousands of quality biking trails and roads exist in the Rocky Mountains. Whether you want to test your skill against the rocky terrain or explore by road, these mountains are perfect for experienced cyclists.
Colorado: In Colorado, Denver has 850 miles of paved off-road trails. The local government even created a map of the Denver area, highlighting the bike trails. For those seeking a more structured Denver biking experience, several tour companies, like Denver Bikalope Bike Tours, give guided bike tours of the city’s hottest sights. When choosing to take a guided tour, cyclists benefit from the tour guide’s knowledge of each stop and the safest routes to reach each location. About 4,000 cyclists participate in bike ride, called Bike the Rockies, each year. The state also hosts Rocky Mountain Bike Festival, the largest gathering of bike vendors in the region. Boulder has a family-friendly bike park, named Valmont Bike Park with jumps, ramps, embankments and other terrain obstacles.
Two great locations to go mountain biking are Salida and Winter Park/Fraser in the Colorado Rockies.
Montana: The long, paved Going-to-the-Sun Road winds through Glacier Park. It is the best way to take in the majestic mountains of this national park. The Beartooth All-American Road has 10000 mountain lakes, 20 peaks reaching more than 12,000 feet in elevation and 12 national forest campgrounds.
Wyoming: Yellowstone National Park evokes a primal feeling of an older, less populated world as cyclists discover the diverse features of the famous national park. Bicycles are rented out at the Old Faithful Pavilion. If you want to explore Yellowstone with a guide, only select companies, like Teton Mountain Bike, Inc, have the required permit to guide bike tours through the park.
Idaho: Idaho City Area has over 50 miles of trails; many connect to old logging roads. Some great off the beaten path riding hree.
Best Time To Visit
Autumn brings Colorado gold to Denver and the Rockies. The trees turn a lovely shade of yellow-orange. Rocky Mountain National Park, about 90 minutes out of Denver, is a superb location to see Colorado gold. It has 60 miles of hard-packed trails and the mountain range from 8,000 to 12,183 feet. The spring and autumn weather is delightful. It’s naturally cooler. This helps riders enjoy their bike riding adventure more. Compared to the rest of the US, even though it gets warm in the Rockies, it’s cooler at altitude.
When you are not cycling, the Denver area contains many theme parks, water parks, museums, and old west style historical attractions to keep you busy until your next ride. You can explore Denver Museum of Nature & Science or the Denver Zoo. Other outdoor activities include hiking, rafting and canoeing. Denver is also called the “Napa Valley of Beer.” You can take a tour of the regional breweries and taste their beer. Cycling vacations help you keep off the pounds, so you can taste test all the delicious types of beer and try regional delicacies, such as bison or Rocky Mountain oysters, without worrying about vacation weight gain.
The Denver International Airport is one of the easiest ways to reach the city, but cyclists can drive a car or a take a bus into the city depending on their point of origin. If you choose to bring a bicycle with you to an airport, make sure you call the airlines ahead of time and follow all their rules. Unless you plan on staying within city limits, plan on renting a car. The Rocky Mountain range is vast and only a portion of it has any other form of motorized access. There’s a rental agency in Denver International. Hotel shuttles, buses and taxis are all options for getting around Denver. If you plan on venturing out of the city, renting a car is a must.
Have you taken a bike tour or cycled near Denver or the Rockies? What bike routes, activities and tour groups would you recommend to other cyclists?